Hibbert targets World U-20 Champs instead of Paris Olympics
Jamaica's under-20 triple jump record holder, Jaydon Hibbert, is concentrating on retaining the title at the World Under-20 Championships in Lima, Peru, next year, instead of the Olympic Games, despite being the holder of the second-best distance in the event by a Jamaican.
According to the 18-year-old Hibbert, he intends to close his junior career in glory but will not rule out the Paris Olympic Games next year, as he will grab the opportunity when presented.
"I want to come back and defend my title as I want to complete my junior years of competition, and I am really motivated just as I did when I won silver in the event the year before, in Nairobi. World Junior is my focus but if I remain healthy and injury free, by the grace of God, and I am good enough to go to the Olympic Games, why not," Hibbert said.
He created history for Jamaica in the event last year when he won the men's triple jump at the World Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia.. It was the first time the island won a gold medal in the triple jump at any international event.
His leap of 17.27 metres is bettered only by the 17.92 by James Beckford, and the feat helped him to win the Rising Star award at the recent RJRGLEANER Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year ceremony at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.
According to Hibbert, while he was not expecting to win the award, he wants his performance to bring more acknowledgements for field events in Jamaica.
"When you saw the people who were nominated with me, they were very outstanding track athletes, and you know Jamaicans are biased towards that discipline, and I was really surprised to know that I won, and I am hoping my recognition here will help to change the mindset of the people of Jamaica in appreciating field events more," he said.
Hibbert, a former Kingston College (KC) standout who now attends the University of Arkansas, will open his season this weekend at the New Mexico Invitational.